I go quote-hunting. I am tired today. The demands of parenting as my daughter recovers from her surgery last week, as the youngest one finds herself jealous of the attention her sister is getting, trying to cope with the increased energy the dog has since Spring sprung, helping to soothe Bubba's worries about his new business, and resisting resentment at the fact that I can't just shut myself away and write are mounting. Just as I think I see an opening, sense a release coming, my father calls to say he is not doing well.
"When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool." Chinua Achebe
I had been hoping I could put this off a little longer. The girls and I had planned to spend Spring Break with him. They know his treatments have left him with no hair. They understand that he can't get down on the floor and wrestle with him anymore. My 'big girl' doesn't really understand why the poison they put into her grandfather was disguised as 'treatment.' The youngest just covers her ears and says, "I don't want to talk about it. Stop right now."
"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open." Dorothy Allison
I am cracked open. I was that egg that looks smooth and solid on the outside. Feels cool and firm to the touch. The instant the shell smacks into the rim of a bowl and your thumbs push through the white membrane to reveal the shiny, vulnerable interior, before sliding out of the shell - that is me now. Open, waiting. Unsure where this will end up. Fried? Scrambled? Folded in with flour and sugar and baked? Where do I go from here? What is the right thing to do? Do I have another conversation with my girls? Do I reschedule our trip? Move it up?
I don't think I'm really asking any of those questions, though. I don't really believe that this is about road trips or missing school. I think what I really want to know is: how do I do this? How do I watch my father die? How do I make sure he knows I love him? How do I hold on to him? How can I stand to know he is suffering?